Julianne Hough had a terrifying 'brush with death' on her honeymoon

Elise Solé
Yahoo Style
Photo: Julianne Hough via Instagram
Photo: Julianne Hough via Instagram

Don’t let those scenic honeymoon photos fool you — Julianne Hough is opening up about a terrifying encounter with an angry elephant on her African adventures.

After their July 8 wedding in Iowa, the Dancing With the Stars judge and her husband, Brooks Laich, a Canadian ice hockey player, jetted off to Frégate Island in the Seychelles and then to Kenya, where they got close to hippos, wildebeests, zebras, and elephants.

From the looks of Hough’s Instagram, the trip was idyllic, but her blog told a different story.

#FBF Fun fact: @BrooksLaich and I honeymooned to a few different spots, but one in particular was where the movie "Out of Africa" was filmed, so clearly we had to reenact one of its most famous scenes/I made my new husband reenact one of its most famous scenes. While we were living out our own romantic moment, things took a – um – wild turn. Read how on juliannehough.com today. #merylstreep #robertredford

A post shared by Julianne Hough (@juleshough) on Aug 18, 2017 at 2:15pm PDT


The couple stayed at the luxury resort Angama Mara (where Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton), which provided the backdrop for the 1980s romantic film Out of Africa.

Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in <em>Out of Africa</em>, 1985. (Photo: MCA/Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in Out of Africa, 1985. (Photo: MCA/Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection)

“As soon as Brooks and I learned the classic film ‘Out of Africa’ was filmed at the resort we were staying at, we wanted to see the movie,” wrote Hough in a blog post called “That Time We Had a Brush With Death on Our Honeymoon” on her website. “We waited for a rainy day and watched Out of Africa — in Africa. We were so moved by the true story based on Karen Blixen’s life in Kenya and the incredible things she did for the Maasai people.”

The couple decided to grab a bottle of champagne and re-create a famous scene in which Robert Redford and Meryl Streep picnic in a grassy field, which happened to be just a few steps from where Hough and Laich were staying.

“We were taking in every bit of the scenery when a low-pitched, gut-turning growl surrounded us,” Hough wrote. “We weren’t scared… we were terrified. Within seconds we were in survival mode. We knew not to run or make any sudden movements, and Brooks grabbed the only objects we could use as weapons if we needed to protect ourselves. Unfortunately, two of those things were butter knives. For a second we thought about breaking the champagne bottle to use, but decided we’d feel awful about shattering glass all over nature. We heard the growl again, and this time it was even more terrifying. I’d never seen Brooks this scared.”

#safari #masaimara #honeymoon

A post shared by Julianne Hough (@juleshough) on Jul 28, 2017 at 6:16am PDT


Assuming the growl came from a cat (also not good news), they decided to walk quickly to a safe spot. Once they were there, a ranger yelled, “Elephant! Elephant!” However, when the newlyweds tried to explain the animal was a cat (indicated by its purr-like sounds), the ranger replied, “Elephant purr!”

“Brooks and I looked at each other in disbelief,” wrote Hough. “How could what the ranger is saying be true? After dramatically escaping death by beast we decided to bring our picnic inside. As soon as we were within reach of wifi we did some digging and, as it turns out, elephants do in fact purr! And it’s really cute.”

Clearly, the brush with death didn’t dampen Hough’s travel bug — she just returned from an Alaskan cruise with her high school girlfriends where, hopefully, she steered clear of brown bears and killer whales.

Taking in the beautiful scenery, smelling the fresh air, listening to the sounds of nature. When you stop, pause, take a breath and enjoy those little things, how can you not be flooded with gratitude?! Having spent this week with my beautiful friends "gave me life" (one of our many sayings used on this trip). It's hard to stay in touch with anyone when life takes over, you live in different states (sometimes countries), you have hectic careers, or a growing family. It's easy to forget to call someone back or to see a text and say you'll respond later… I'm so grateful for all my friends that live all over the world and the effort they put in to our friendships. These girlfriends in particular have been so fun to stay connected with. They are all still incredibly goofy, have more energy than the energizer bunny, kind, compassionate, hilarious, best late night silent disco dancers ever, and just all around great human beings! We all have different lives that lead down different paths so when we get together and talk about EVERYTHING, there is always a common thread. Connection! Wether it's with friends, your kids, your husbands, your family etc… that's all we truly want in this life – love and connection! Thank you for being in my life still to this day. You changed it back in high school when you brought me in to your circle of friends and you continue to impact my life today! Love my girls!!! Also, Kristy has now been officially inducted in to the hall of ishes #11yearsinthemaking #swag #btw #literally #gavemelife #alaskanishes

A post shared by Julianne Hough (@juleshough) on Aug 18, 2017 at 12:35pm PDT


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